Here’s the City’s Plan For Delancey Street Protected Bike Lanes

delancey street bicyclist 1

A plan to add a two-way protected bike lane on Delancey Street in 2018 was enthusiastically received by the transportation committee of Community Board 3 last week.

The proposal was first hinted at by the city this past fall. The presentation on Wednesday evening by the Department of Transportation was, however, the first detailed public look at what the agency envisions. The addition of a bike lane is just one of several steps DOT and the MTA will be taking to soften the blow of the looming L Train shutdown in 2019.

The city plans to remove one eastbound traffic lane to create the two way bike path between Norfolk Street and Allen Street. It will run along the south side of the median. A one-way (eastbound) bike path between Chrystie Street and Allen Street will also be installed.

DOT will be improving the connections from cross streets to the Williamsburg Bridge and to the new bike lane. A two-way painted bike path will be created in the center of Delancey (from Suffolk Street). At Allen Street, a two-way bike lane will be added along the south side of the median.

delancey street bike lane proposal

 

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Beginning in April of 2019, the MTA will shut down the L Train tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan for repairs. The work is going to take 15 months. In the past, mass transit interruptions (example: Hurricane Sandy) led to huge increases in bike traffic over the bridge. Transportation planners believe the L Train stopage will have a similar effect.

During the presentation, DOT Senior Planner Shawn Macias said about 7500 bicyclists used the bridge daily in 2016. Around one-thousand bicyclists use Delancey Street on an average day. In the past, the city has resisted pleas for a Delancey Street bike lane, preferring to route bicyclists onto Clinton, Suffolk, Rivington and Stanton streets.

Macias pointed to statistics from other major thoroughfares in the city, showing that bike lanes save lives.  On Delancey Street, three pedestrians and one bicyclist were killed between 2010-2014. After safety improvements (longer signals, larger pedestrian plazas) were implemented on Delancey in 2012, the number of total automobile crashes dropped by 48%.

The Essex Crossing construction project has forced the closure of one lane on Delancey Street between Essex Street and Norfolk Street. The bike lane project won’t begin until next spring, when the work is completed.

delancey street

For the most part, members of the committee and the general public praised DOT’s plan. It creates a more direct route between the bridge and the new Chrystie Street protected bike lane and to the heavily used 1st Avenue bike lane.

DOT reps were asked if anything could be done about the chaotic situation (bicyclist/pedestrian conflicts) at the base of the bridge. They said there aren’t a lot of obvious solutions because no capital funds have been allocated for the bike lane project. The concrete barriers in the area were installed as a anti-terrorism measure several years ago, and cannot be removed, they added.

A committee member raised another issue — the sorry condition of the roadway. Even during routine rain and snow storms, big puddles form in the intersections of Delancey Street. DOT was asked whether repaving the street could be part of the project. The question was taken under advisement.

You can see the full presentation below. The board won’t vote on the plan until next month.

New Chrystie Street Bike Lane Makes Its Formal Debut

Chrystie Street, near Canal Street.

Chrystie Street, near Canal Street.

The city’s transportation commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, came to the Lower East Side today to celebrate the installation of a new two-way bike lane on Chrystie Street.

There was a ribbon cutting on a stretch of the bike lane near Canal Street this morning. State Sen. Daniel Squadron attended, as did bicycling advocates and community leaders such as Wellington Chen from the Chinatown Partnership.

Previously, the Chrystie Street bike lanes were located on either side of the street and were often blocked by cars and trucks making deliveries. A local bike proponent, Dave “Poco” Abraham, campaigned for the changes. He won the support of Senator Squadron and Community Board 3. The new protected lanes on the east side of Chrystie offer a safer route for the thousands of bike commuters who need to access the Manhattan Bridge on a daily basis.

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In a press release, the Department of Transportation noted that the completion of the Chrystie Street lane, along with the installation of lanes along Brooklyn’s Jay Street and on 1st Avenue approaching the Queensboro Bridge, make it possible to safely ride northbound  for nine miles from downtown Brooklyn to the Bronx.

While the commissioner was in the neighborhood, she walked over to the mouth of the Manhattan Bridge to take note of safety improvements implemented there earlier this year. Between 2010 and 2014, more than 147 people were injured in the dangerous area bordering the Bowery, and one person was killed. The $1.5 million project included the installation of new signals, concrete curb extensions, plus expanded medians.  Daily reversals on the lower roadway of the bridge were also ended.

There are more safety improvements coming up in the year ahead. The city is planning to create a protected bike lane on Delancey Street. DOT designers will be appearing before Community Board 3 early in the year to discuss that project.

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Plans Unveiled For Protected Chrystie Street Bike Lane Tonight (Updated)

chrystie street bike rendering

Rendering: NYC Dept. of Transportation.

This evening, officials with the Department of Transportation will go before Community Board 3 to outline their plans for a protected bike lane on Chrystie Street.

In the rendering posted above, you can see the proposal: a two-way bike path on the east side of Chrystie from East Houston Street to Canal Street, with a parking lane separating bicyclists from automobile traffic. In February of last year, CB3 approved a resolution calling for the upgrade. A local bike advocate, Dave “Poco” Abraham, campaigned for the changes on Chrystie Street, where faded lines and heavy truck traffic make conditions treacherous for cyclists.

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A few more details from Gothamist, which was first to publish the renderings yesterday:

The DOT says the lane could be installed as soon as Fall 2016. Southbound cyclists on Second Avenue will have a safe path to the Manhattan Bridge, and northbound cyclists will be able to turn right off of Chrystie to merge onto the protected northbound lane on 1st Avenue. Cyclists will be separated from traffic by a parking lane from Canal to Grand, and again from Rivington to Houston. The stretch between Grand and Rivington, where the road is narrower, will be protected by flexible delineators… (There) will be no traffic lane reduction (the DOT pointed out that one of the southbound lanes was almost entirely eliminated back in 2008, calming traffic significantly). The proposal also calls for the addition of four new pedestrian islands, and a complete resurfacing of the road—a process that the DOT estimates will require about two or three weeks of overnight work.

If you’d like to offer feedback on the plan, show up at tonight’s transportation committee meeting. It begins at 6:30 p.m. at Seward Park Extension, 56 Essex St. Here’s the full agenda:

1.    Approval of previous month’s minutes
2.    Request for support to retrofit CB 3 tree pits as support for infrastructure that is more absorbent of storm water
3.    DOT presentation on upgrade of 2-way protected bicycle lane on Chrystie Street from Canal Street to Houston
4.    Proposed traffic calming measures and bicycle route on Pitt Street from Grand Street to Houston Street
5.    180 Orchard St (Indigo Hotel) Request for 28 foot loading zone for guests

UPDATED 3:22 p.m. The Department of Transportation put out a press release this afternoon. Relevant excerpts:

With nearly 3,000 daily cyclists, Chrystie Street is a major cycling connection to the Manhattan Bridge and serves as a Priority Area for Vision Zero, the de Blasio Administration’s ambitious plan to eliminate deaths and injuries on New York City roadways. DOT’s new safety proposal includes a two-way bike lane on the east side of Chrystie Street, protected by a combination of parked cars, jersey barriers, and delineators. While the number of car-travel lanes will remain the same, the proposal will reduce problematic double parking and provide a more continuous connection from Second Avenue to the Manhattan Bridge. The proposal also includes construction of three new pedestrian islands at 2nd Street and Second Avenue, Stanton Street, and Rivington Street. This shortens pedestrian crossings and improves access to Sara Roosevelt Park. At the intersection of Canal and Chrystie Street, DOT will redesign the existing pedestrian island, as well as install jersey barriers where cyclists turn onto Chrystie Street from Canal Street. At the intersection of Chrystie Street and Delancey Street, a protected signal phase and jersey barriers will be added, allowing cyclists to cross Delancey safely and enhancing safety for pedestrians. The change will also improve efficiency of the heavy traffic turning left bound for the Williamburg Bridge. At the intersection of Houston Street, DOT will similarly add a protected signal phase to reduce conflicts. In its current configuration, Chrystie Street presents challenges for cyclists, with a heavy volume of trucks and other vehicles during peak hours. Southbound cyclists on Second Avenue north of Houston Street must cross from the bike lane on the east curb to an unprotected bike lane on the west side of Chrystie, only to cross Chrystie Street again to its east side for the Manhattan Bridge bike path entrance. The proposed new configuration will limit these unnecessary crossings, and provide a more seamless and direct trip from Second Avenue to the Manhattan Bridge. Following the community board process, the DOT will begin work on Chrystie Street this fall, including resurfacing of the street from Houston Street to Canal Street.

Department of Transportation Agrees to Study Protected Chrystie Street Bike Lane

Morning Reads: Tammany Hall Melee, Dagny & Barstow, The Low Line, Bike Lanes, No Bomb

  • The five defendants in this summer’s Tammany Hall melee are due in court today; their lawyer is talking civil suits. (DNAInfo)
  • Dagny & Barstow, the boutique slated to open at 264 Bowery by now, has opened temporarily in a pop-up shop in the Meatpacking District instead. Why? It’s quite a story. (Racked)
  • What’s really living in the underground space that may become The Low Line? Mole people. (NY Observer)
  • Brian Rose, a Cooper Union graduate who made the Lower East Side his muse in the early 1980s and again in the early 2000s, is trying to publish a book of his work, and needs help. (Kickstarter)
  • Pay no attention to the Twitter panic: there was no bomb at the corner of Allen and Delancey last night. The empty suitcase there turned out to be, well, an empty suitcase. (VV: Runnin’ Scared)
  • Borough President Scott Stringer released a detailed report on stalled construction sites yesterday, and unsurprisingly, the Lower East Side has a lot: 19. (EVGrieve, Gothamist)
  • The city council’s transportation committee took aim at bike lane regs yesterday, and cycling advocates fear more red tape. (Streetsblog)

Bike/Ped Advocates Want Zero Tolerance on Street Safety

Mary Beth Kelly's husband was killed by a tow truck while bike riding.

Mary Beth Kelly and her husband were riding their bikes along the Hudson River greenway bike in 2006 when an NYPD tow truck turned into their path, striking her husband, Dr. Carl Henry Nacht, who died three days later of his injuries.

Five years later, Kelly remains appalled at how little progress New York City has made at preventing tragedies like hers. At a press conference at the corner of Essex and Delancey streets yesterday, Kelly joined leaders from Transportation Alternatives and The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy to demand the city’s government step up its efforts to prevent the deaths of cyclists and pedestrians, one of which occurs, on average, every 35 hours.

Cyclist Struck by Car at Grand & Chrystie

A bicyclist was struck and injured by a car at the intersection of Grand and Chrystie streets at 3:15 p.m. this afternoon. The adult male cyclist, who appeared to be conscious, was taken from the scene to Bellevue Hospital by ambulance. The driver of the car, a silver Dodge Neon with West Virginia plates, was taken into police custody after being questioned, frisked and handcuffed. The victim’s injuries did not appear life-threatening and no charges had been filed as of 4:45 p.m., according to a police spokesperson.

NYPD Begins Bike Safety Campaign

In recent weeks, there have been numerous reports about stepped up enforcement of New York City’s bike laws. Along with the crackdown, there’s a major public education campaign underway. This morning we got a call from Dennis Schmidt, the 7th Precinct’s community affairs officer.

He wanted to let us know officers are making the rounds throughout the neighborhood, passing out bike safety brochures (you can find online versions of the Department of Transportation’s web site). As the city aggressively adds miles of bike lanes, there’s been an increase in accidents between bikes and pedestrians, as well as bikes and cars.

Some bike activists have argued enforcement should not be selective. Streetsblog noted:

We’ve written here before that from a public safety perspective, more cyclist enforcement only makes sense as one piece in a broader effort to police traffic safety, especially by targeting the most dangerous behavior on the street, like motorist speeding and failure-to-yield. But it looks like the orders from One Police Plaza are just about cycling infractions.

Stringer Calls For Stepped Up Enforcement to Clear Bike Lanes

There was a media happening this morning at the corner of St. Marks Place & 2nd Avenue. Channel 2, Channel 5 and NY1 crowded onto the sidewalk to hear Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer reveal results of an “unprecedented survey of bike lane safety.”

Gerson Campaign Responds

More on the battle of the bike lanes. After City Council member Alan Gerson's rally yesterday to protest the configuration of the Grand Street bike lanes, CD1 candidate Margaret Chin released a statement sharply critical of the event. Chin alleged that the rally, on a Chinatown street corner, was little more than a campaign stunt. Now the Gerson campaign is out with a statement of its own:

Council Member Alan J. Gerson held a press conference specifically to assure the community that he has introduced Intro 10-63, which allows more community input regarding citywide bicycle policies and street access.  Gerson believes that changes to street conditions directly impact the lives of residents and the community.  That is why their voice and concerns, as well as those of bicyclists, must be considered, not only by the community board, but also by the NYC Department of Transportation.  This legislation will increase community input across the city. It is unfortunate that this benign legislation is attacked by his political opponent for political purposes.

Chin is one of four candidates challenging Gerson in the September 15th Democratic Primary. At the rally, he was surrounded by Chinatown residents and business owners, who believe the bike lane has snarled traffic and made Grand Street more dangerous. The First District includes Chinatown, where Chin is a longtime community organizer.

Bike Advocates Challenge Gerson During Chinatown Rally

It was quite a scene on a sweltering street corner in Chinatown this afternoon. City Council member Alan Gerson rallied with Chinatown business owners and senior citizens, who are fed up with the Grand Street bike lane. While Gerson stressed his support for more bike lanes throughout the city, he said the configuration of the lanes along Grand Street is not working. He complained that the Department of Transportation has refused to meet with residents about their concerns.

Some of the speakers at the rally said the lanes had cut back on parking along the congested corridor, and hurt local businesses. Others said the shifting of the parking lanes to the middle of the street made Grand more dangerous for pedestrians. Gerson has introduced legislation in the City Council that would require the DOT to follow a "comprehensive community engagement process" before major changes are made to city streets.

One of Gerson's challengers in next month's Primary, Margaret Chin, released a strongly worded statement, following this afternoon's rally:

When the Grand Street bike lane was installed by the Mayor’s Department of Transportation, Councilmember Gerson did almost nothing to oppose it. There was limited community consultation, with only one major hearing and a vote by the Community Board. The hearing was poorly publicized and attended, and Gerson did little to make the debate over the bike lane public or engaged. The one tepid protest that Gerson managed to organize failed to prevent the construction of the bike lane, the entirety of which falls within Council District 1. Now that his prospects for election to a third term are in serious jeopardy, he has taken a position with the community, and against the bike lane. Combined with his changing stance on congestion pricing (he voted in favor in the Council, but now claims to oppose it) this position raises questions as to whether his positions on the issues are driven by principles or the desire to be returned to office for a third term.

The rally lasted for almost an hour. On Monday. we'll have extended excerpts from Gerson, as well as Chinatown residents. Below is a short exchange at the end of today's rally. As bicycle advocates grilled Gerson, he tried to reassure them by saying he was trying to prevent the scaling back of bike lanes in New York due to opposition from communities who feel they've been left out of the process. 

Midday News Notes

According to the Downtown Express, it took three calls to 911 before help arrived for a woman suffering a seizure at the Grand Park Settlement's senior center. A staff member, Wally Ruiz, ended up running to the fire station on Pitt Street before emergency teams arrived for 64 year old Eva Delgado. It's unclear whether the trucks came from the Pitt Street station or another location. Delgado was taken to Beth Israel Hospital, where she was declared dead a short time later. There was apparently some question about whether the 911 operator received enough information to send help.But a Grand Street Settlement spokesperson says the staffer who called 911 gave all of the information that would have been needed.

The city has come up with a solution to the dispute over bike lanes along Kent Avenue in Brooklyn. It's worth taking note of the resolution across the river, as we await a plan for the Grand Street bike lanes. You'll recall LES residents unloaded on DOT officials during a "transportation town hall" recently.

A followup to our coverage of the contentious community meeting Wednesday night about noise coming from the Thompson LES Hotel. Jeremiah's Vanishing New York posted a video from a tipster who says a pool party last week was "disgustingly loud." See (and hear it) for yourself:

New Bike Safety Web Site Debuts

If you really want to get Grand Street motorists going, ask them how they feel about bicyclists who don't obey the traffic rules. We found that out last month during the transportation "town hall" sponsored by Councilman Alan Gerson. Later Transportation Alternatives spokesman Wiley Norvell told us his organization is working hard to promote good bicycling behavior. To that end they have debuted a new web site, www.bikingrules.org. They lay out the rules of the road "from a cyclist's persoective." Among the rules spelled out online:

  • Bicycles ridden on sidewalks may be confiscated and riders may be subject to legal sanctions
  • It is against the law to park, stand or stop within or otherwise obstruct bike lanes.
  • Bicyclists are granted all of the rights and are subject to all of the duties of the driver of a motor vehicle.

New Bike Safety Web Site Debuts

If you really want to get Grand Street motorists going, ask them how they feel about bicyclists who don't obey the traffic rules. We found that out last month during the transportation "town hall" sponsored by Councilman Alan Gerson. Later Transportation Alternatives spokesman Wiley Norvell told us his organization is working hard to promote good bicycling behavior. To that end they have debuted a new web site, www.bikingrules.org. They lay out the rules of the road "from a cyclist's persoective." Among the rules spelled out online:

  • Bicycles ridden on sidewalks may be confiscated and riders may be subject to legal sanctions
  • It is against the law to park, stand or stop within or otherwise obstruct bike lanes.
  • Bicyclists are granted all of the rights and are subject to all of the duties of the driver of a motor vehicle.

Thursday News Links

Streetsblog took note of our coverage of Councilman Gerson's transportation town hall Monday night, saying "the session successfully gathered up ideas from ill-informed cranks."  They concluded:

A quick CrashStat check reveals
that, contrary to Mr. Jacob's (LES resident who said there had only been one fatality in the area) gut assertion, several people have been
killed by autos while walking on Grand Street in recent years. Co-op
Village, like many other housing developments in the area, is home to a
big senior population. Those pedestrian refuges make Grand Street safer to cross and less intimidating to older New Yorkers.
Rolling back critical safety improvements that improve seniors' quality
of life — is that really the kind of "community input" that Gerson
wants to align himself with?

The Villager's take on the town hall is now online. Harold Jacob gets a starring role in their write-up, as well:

 Jacob recalled that Margaret Forgione, D.O.T. Manhattan borough
commissioner, told a Lower East Side forum earlier this year that the
Grand St. median island was intended to avoid pedestrian deaths on a
section of Grand St. where there had been three fatalities. Jacob said
he obtained records through a Freedom of Information Law request and
found that there were no fatalities at that location, but that there
had been one death on Clinton St. after a safety island had been
installed at an intersection.

The Villager also has more on the New York Housing Authority's new pet policy, banning pit bulls and other breeds.

The Tenement Museum's blog has a few interesting posts on the groundbreaking artists who told the stories of immigrant life on the Lower East Side.

Just in time for Mother's Day, Metromix profiles a dynamic duo: Roni-Sue of Roni-Sue's Chocolates in the Essex Street Market and her son Corwin Kave of Fatty Crab.